-Justice Sylvain Ore’
By T. Saye Goinleh
The president of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights sitting in Arusha, Tanzania has expressed dismay that despite the government of Liberia’s signature on the Protocol to the Africa Charter of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) on June 9, 1998 pertaining to the establishment of the Court, she has not ratified the document and deposit her declaration under Article 34 (6).
According to Justice Sylvain Ore’, twenty years since Liberia along with other countries adopted the Protocol on the establishment of the Court at a summit in Burkina Faso which came into force on January 25, 2004, only thirty out of the fifty-five countries in Africa have ratified the Protocol and deposited their declaration.
Justice Ore’ said in the same vain that Liberia within the twenty year since Ouagadougou has commendably and positively considered the ratification of other instruments, it is only fitting that the government pushes efforts to culminate into its ratification of human rights treaties and other documents signed including the Protocol establishing the Court.
Speaking at a sensitization seminar held on the African Court at local Hotel in Monrovia, the Ivorian legal practitioner noted that by Liberia fulfilling her side of the bargain by ratification, she will be contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights on the African continent and thus availing her nationals wider opportunities to access justice before the African Court.
The seminar was organized by the African Court in collaboration with the government of Liberia with funding from the European Union.
The African Court is one of the organs of the African Union and a continental judicial body set up by the Organization member states to ensure the protection of human and people’s rights and complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
The program was attended by several government officials, including lawmakers and cabinet ministers as well as stakeholders of human rights institutions, civil society organizations and representatives from the Liberia National Bar Association.
In a brief remark, Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Findley said government will remain engaged with all stakeholders as she is aware of the role human rights institutions play in Liberia and the world at large by ensuring the protection and dignity of the human race.
Minister Findley assured the African Court of government’s willingness to ratify the Protocol and to comply with its deposition of declaration.
For his part, the acting chair of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley said the issue of human rights is simply to have protection on people’s rights such as political, social and economic.
According to Rev. Colley, it is based upon this that the African Court was set up and it was therefore prudent on the part of the Liberia Government to see reason and put mechanism in place to ratify the Protocol of the Court.
He said it was disheartening to note that since 1998, just thirty of the fifty-five nations on the Continent have complied and Liberia must move quickly to ratify the instrument and deposit its declaration-based Article 34 (6).